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Also called: Gastrointestinal diseases

When you eat, your body breaks food down to a form it can use to build and nourish cells and provide energy. This process is called digestion.

Your digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube. It runs from your mouth to your anus and includes your esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines. Your liver, gallbladder and pancreas are also involved. They produce juices to help digestion.

There are many types of digestive disorders. The symptoms vary widely depending on the problem. In general, you should see your doctor if you have

  • Blood in your stool
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Heartburn not relieved by antacids

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Also called: Communicable diseases

Infectious diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause. Infectious diseases are caused by germs. Germs are tiny living things that are found everywhere – in air, soil and water. You can get infected by touching, eating, drinking or breathing something that contains a germ. Germs can also spread through animal and insect bites, kissing and sexual contact. Vaccines, proper hand washing and medicines can help prevent infections.

There are four main kinds of germs:

  • Bacteria – one-celled germs that multiply quickly and may release chemicals which can make you sick
  • Viruses – capsules that contain genetic material, and use your own cells to multiply
  • Fungi – primitive plants, like mushrooms or mildew
  • Protozoa – one-celled animals that use other living things for food and a place to live

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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